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Nation & World Briefs


Wednesday, February 07, 2018
‘They want to erase us.’ Hunger used to target Rohingya

NAYAPARA REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh — Abdul Goni says the Myanmar government was starving his family one stage at a time.

First, soldiers stopped the Rohingya Muslim from walking three hours to the forest for the firewood he sold to feed his family. Then Buddhist neighbors and seven soldiers took his only cow, which he rented out to fertilize rice fields.

By the time Goni saw bodies floating down the local river, of fellow Rohingya killed for illegal fishing, he knew his family would die if they didn’t leave. On bad days, they carved the flesh out of banana plant stalks for food. On the worst days, his children ate nothing.

“I felt so sorry that I couldn’t give them enough food,” the 25-year-old says, tears running down his face, in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, just across the border from Myanmar.

Sexual assault reports doubled at West Point

WASHINGTON — The number of sexual assaults reported at the U.S. Military Academy roughly doubled during the last school year, according to data reviewed by The Associated Press, in the latest example of the armed forces’ persistent struggle to root out such misbehavior.

It’s the fourth year in a row that sexual assault reports increased at the school in West Point, New York. There were 50 cases in the school year that ended last summer, compared with 26 made during the 2015-2016 school year. By comparison, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, saw only slight increases.

The annual report on sexual assaults at the three military academies is due out this month. The Naval Academy’s reports increased to 29 last year from 28. The Air Force Academy’s edged up by one, to 33.

Vatican to interview Chile victim in person

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican’s sex-crimes expert is changing plans and will fly to New York to take in-person testimony from a Chilean sex abuse victim after his pleas to be heard by Pope Francis were previously ignored, the victim told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The switch from a planned Skype interview came after the AP reported that Francis received a letter in 2015 from Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest. Cruz wrote the pope that one of the priest’s proteges, Bishop Juan Barros, was present for his abuse and did nothing, and questioned Francis’ decision to make him a diocesan bishop.

Barros has denied seeing or knowing of any abuse committed by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, a charismatic priest sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors.

Nearly 11.8M enroll for Obama health law in 2018

WASHINGTON — Call it the political equivalent of a death-defying escape: former President Barack Obama’s health care law pulled in nearly 11.8 million customers for 2018, despite the Republican campaign to erase it from the books.

An Associated Press count found that nationwide enrollment was about 3 percent lower than last year. California, with more than 1.5 million sign-ups, was the last state to report, announcing its numbers on Wednesday.

Sixteen states increased their enrollment from last year. Six of those were carried by President Donald Trump in 2016, while 10 went for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

From Associated Press